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Farmers Use Cassava Plants As Compost

High prices of subsidized fertilizer to farmers in District North Raman - East Lampung more creative by using stem and leaves of cassava as the raw material compost making.

"We made compost to reduce dependence on subsidized organic fertilizers, whose prices continue to rise," said a resident, Harminto (30), in the Village Rejobinangun, District North Raman - East Lampung

According to him, in the processing of cassava plants as compost fertilizer, farmers in his village to buy the machine count in groups comprising 20 people, which are used interchangeably.

"The instrument we use is the engine of diesel-powered counter, which purchased for around five million rupiah," he said.

He added, in a cassava processing into compost is not difficult, let alone every farmer in the village which has many cassava plants.

Cassava plants consisting of stems and leaves are fed into the machine count.

Then, he continued, cassava plants that have been destroyed, dried and stored for three days, so that evaporation and fertilizer have not clot.

"Crops have been destroyed cassava accommodated, and was ready to become manure compost," he said.

He added, was in the use of compost in agriculture is still added to other nutrients such as LA and KCL, but not much that can cut costs by 50 percent.

"Although the plant could be fertile with compost, but needs to be added to the ZA and KCL, and even do not need more substance urea," he said.

According to a responsible citizen regulate the use of the machine count, Abdul (42), with the machine count plants, residents can save fertilizer costs and could utilize the availability of cassava plants in the village quite abundant.

He said farmers in his village to use compost for fertilizing plants like corn, soybeans, peanuts, green beans, and other plant species.

"Even can be used for fertilization of rice, because it is fertile ground," he explained.

He also advocated for in other areas could be developed making compost with the cassava plant-based, especially in central area of cassava plants, and also can use other ingredients such as hump corn, sweet potato leaves, plant beans, etc.

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Active Carbon from Cassava Skin

Deby Jannati (16) and Mazia Shona (17), high school students Universe Semarang, Central Java, to prove that the skin of cassava can be used activated carbon material. Activated carbon was able to absorb 99.98 percent copper content in waste water.

Deby and the Shona, who represented Indonesia, won first prize in the event Mostratec in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil, which took place on 24-31 October. Event was followed by high school students from 22 countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
"Normally the activated carbon made from coconut shell. Apparently, the skin of cassava that had been underutilized also contains carbon, "said Shona.

He accidentally learned from his school work that the skin of cassava contain 59.31 percent carbon. He is often seen activated carbon used to purify water in the school dormitory bathroom.

"I think, the skin can also be made of cassava active carbon. In addition to increasing the economic value of cassava skin, making activated carbon from cassava skin more environmentally friendly, "said Shona.

Deby said activated carbon made from cassava skin with skin drying cassava, followed on such devices oven to 800 degrees Celsius for three hours. The result crushed and activated with NaOH solution.

When tested by atomic absorption spectrophotometer, the resulting activated carbon was able to absorb 99.98 percent of its copper (Cu). Laboratory test results, as many as 20 milliliters of synthetic waste containing CuSO4 able bleached with 2 grams of active carbon cassava skin within 40 minutes.

"Not just for water purification, activated carbon is also used for diarrhea. We want someone to continue this research to be applied in life, "said Shona. (UTIs)

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Cassava Chips provision

For couples families Rusli (56)-Elizah (50), cassava chips, not just snacks in my spare time. Moreover, cassava chips capable of rowing a boat his family, in fact, deliver a child reaching undergraduate degree. Whereas the other two, still sitting on the bench and junior high school.

"Proceeds from sale of cassava chips, I could support their families and to finance children's education," said Rusli, in his home area of District Environmental Persiakan V, Upper Padang District, City Tebingtinggi, last week.

He admitted to cultivate cassava chip-making business since 2000. Capitalize five kilograms of cassava, a couple (couples) is trying his luck. Target market, a number of shops around their residence. Thanks to the persistence of these couples, slowly but surely, their homemade cassava chips began to interest the public. Orderan flowing from various parts of the City Tebingtinggi, so the increased production. By the year 2005, these couples have produced 100 kg of cassava chips per day. "Cassava chips for snacks. Moreover, if properly packaged," he explained.

Products are maintained and attractive packaging of cassava chips to make artificial agents hunted Rusli. However, capital constraints make it unable to serve those needs. Capital conditions that often inhibit the perpetrators of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is taken seriously by the mayor, Ir H Abdul Hafiz Hasibuan. Through the Department of Industry and the local cooperatives, SMEs Rusli with other actors without collateral to receive loans worth Rp 5 million.

This business capital loan immediately Rusli used to increase its production of cassava chips. Assisted by four workers who are also neighbors, he raised the ASRI branded products. Rusli also did not have to bother with cassava chips to peddle it to the public, because the agents are ready to buy into his house and sold to various regions in North Sumatra, among other things, Medan, Siantar, Samosir, Tarutung, and other Tapanuli area.

"Assisted by 12 workers, every day our production ranges from 300 to 500 kilograms of cassava chips," he said, then added, this success does not depart from the guidance, direction and training of the Pemko Perindagkop Tebingtinggi through the local office.

He admitted that the role Disperindagkop important enough for giving assistance in the form of cassava cutting machine, so the results for the cutting of cassava chips, cassava processed into finished faster. Regarding tips to make cassava chips crisp and tasty, Rusli said, quite easily. According to him, cassava has been peeled, then washed clean and cut round and thin. After that, he continued, cassava slices soaked and drained in preparation for frying. Rusli reminded to use the new cooking oil that has been boiled, before starting the frying cassava slices. "When you are up and re-colored drained the oil does not stick to the chips. After the new cold insert into the spice mixture stirring. Easy is not it?" she called an end the conversation.

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Danforth Center gets $2.5M for cassava research

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center was recently awarded a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development to develop a virus-resistant cassava.

Yearly harvests of the starchy shrub in East Africa have been hurt by infections spread by whiteflies and by cuttings, how cassava is commonly propagated by farmers.

The crop is the primary source of calories for more than 250 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa because it can grow in low-nutrient soils and withstand droughts that kill other plants.

Each year, cassava farmers lose at least 30 percent of their crop to cassava mosaic disease alone, and the cassava brown streak disease can be responsible for a complete loss of the harvest. In the Lake Victoria area, more than 7 million people are at risk of famine because of plant disease threats, according to the Danforth Center.

Danforth researchers have teamed up with partners in Kenya and Uganda on a project called Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa, or VIRCA.

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a nonprofit research institute in Creve Coeur that focuses on human health and agricultural production.

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Cassava farmers in Great Lakes facing double disease strike

Cassava farmers in the Great Lakes region are at risk of suffering losses following an outbreak of brown streak disease and cassava mosaic that are spread by white flies.

The spread of the two viral diseases in the region is causing major production losses and, in the most severely affected zones, acute food shortage.

Dr James Legg, a vector entomologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said 11 countries in Central and Eastern Africa have been affected by cassava mosaic, which is caused by mosaic gemini viruses that are transmitted through infected planting material as well as by a whitefly vector.

Dr Legg said the disease might have started in the Democratic Republic of Congo and spread through the region but was not established because of lack of continuous research in DRC.

Other strategies

Athough the two diseases were first detected in the coastal areas of Kenya Tanzania and Mozambique in 1930, a new brown streak was discovered by researchers in Uganda in 2004.

“It’s not like we were not aware of the disease totally. We were; that is why we have other strategies, like improving our intelligence through monitoring, and that enables us to predict what might be the next effect of the viruses,” he said.

According to Dr Legg, other attack strategies include sharing of the best variety through regional exchange.

Here, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) ensures the stems are disease-free before they are transported from one country to another.

The symptoms of the diseases include drying of the plant’s stem and roots and yellowing of the roots.

About 70 per cent of the harvested cassava in Mwanza Kagera and Mara regions is affected by the disease before being processed, therefore decreasing its price both at the local and international market.

Promoting production

The other districts that have been affected by the diseases in the lake zone regions include Chato Biharamulo and Muleba Ukerewe Musoma Bunda and Sengerema.

The diseases have emerged ahead of the $5.3 million funding project financed by the IITA with the aim of promoting cassava production in the next two years.

John Msemo, co-ordinator of Unleashing the Power of Cassava in Africa at IITA, says the fund is targetted more than 15,000 farmers around the country for the new cassava breed pilot project.

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Cassava in East Nusa Tenggara

East Nusa Tenggara province is set to export dried cassava and bio-ethanol to South Korea next year, with a predicted value of US$1 million, a Korean businessman has said.

The cassava and bio-ethanol exports are expected to increase to increase to $101 million in 2012, he said during a meeting in Bogor Wednesday.

Samyang IDB, a joint venture between South Korea's Samyang and national company IDB, has allocated $40 million to establish 30,000 hectares of cassava plantations in West Manggarai Regency. The company will also build a bio-ethanol factory costing $10 million. Samyang controls 51.2 percent of shares, while the rest are owned by IDB.

The methanol bio-fuel and the cassava raw products, like dried cassava will be exported to South Korea, where the latter will meet demand for human and cattle food, glue, cosmetics, and pharmacy products.

The company has opened 300 hectares of plantation this year to create seed-beds to supply 3,000 hectares in 2010 and 30,000 hectares in 2011. It has also opened 50 hectares of seed plantations in West Java. The company uses a cassava variety called IDB Superior Cassava (ISC). Each hectare will produce up to 100 tons, or three times higher than the present national average.

Last year Indonesia produced 21.8 millions tons of cassava. Major producing areas include Lampung and North Sumatra.

"We chose East Nusa Tenggara because this province has major potential for cassava cultivation. And it is also very easy to obtain 30,000 hectares of land there compared to other provinces," said company director David Baek Wednesday.

According to Baek, the price of Indonesian cassava is very competitive compared to agricultural feed-stock from countries like Brazil and this would help to make Indonesian ethanol production lower cost than the sugar cane methanol method widely used in Brazil. The company is expected to hire at least 1,200 workers, at this stage.

On Friday, Baek, a South Korean national, signed an MoU with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) covering fieldwork on a land survey, evaluation of the agricultural environment, and the formulation of a strategic plan for cassava cultivation in the province.

Lala Kolopaking, the head of IPB's Center for Development and Rural Areas Studies, said his office has suggested that the Korean company should introduce cassava as an alternative staple food in the impoverished province, in addition to its export purposes.

"When local people have accepted cassava as *an alternative food*, and then we can move to biotechnology," said Kolopaking, who represented IPB in the agreement with Samyang IDB

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